Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record reports that Yankees manager Joe Girardi is open to moving Aroldis Chapman back into the closer’s role as soon as Thursday, when the club wraps up a four-game series against the Orioles.
Chapman, 29, has struggled this season and was taken out of the closer’s role in mid-August. He currently holds a 4.02 ERA with a 56/18 K/BB ratio in 40 1/3 innings. In six appearances since his demotion, the lefty has allowed three runs on five hits and two walks with seven strikeouts in 5 2/3 innings.
The Yankees wasted a 6-1 lead after three innings on Tuesday and ultimately lost when Manny Machado hit a walk-off two-run home run off of Dellin Betances in the bottom of the ninth inning. The loss hurt because the Yankees and Orioles are close competitors in the AL Wild Card race. The Yankees are currently 2.5 games up in the first Wild Card slot while the Orioles trail the Twins and Angels by one game for the second slot.
The Phillies announced that they’ve optioned right-hander Hector Neris to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.
Nerris, who saved 26 games as the Phillies closer in 2017 and ten games in that role this year, has struggled this year, posting a 6.00 ERA in 30 appearances. While his strikeout and walk rates aren’t too far off what he was doing last year his hit rate has spiked and he’s currently allowing 10.3 safeties per nine. The wheels have come off of late, as he has allowed nine runs on 15 hits — five of them homers — over his last eight innings of work. Yesterday he allowed four runs in the ninth inning of a game the Phillies had led by five.
It was clear that Gabe Kapler had lost faith in Neris as a result, using him almost exclusively in low-leverage situations. That changed on Saturday, as Kapler used him in a save situation and said after the game that they were easing him back into his role. That plan obviously changed after yesterday’s meltdown.
Seranthony Dominguez had been getting the call in save situations. He’ll get them more now.